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Serendipity featured on my intuitive vision board

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I recently took a random call from a good friend with a random outcome.

Four days later I’m flying to Dublin for the weekend, all expenses paid, as a kind of tour guide!  I'm to discover the hidden gems of Fingal on the northern shores of Dublin during a music festival in honour of Séamus Ennis, a genius for his uilleann pipe playing. 

The craic
On arrival I am to be collected at the airport.  One hour later my male escorts had still not showed. That’s because they’d gone to departures! That's Irish right?
 
I was taken to nearby Skerries, a charming fishing village where I enjoyed my first taste of real Guinness in a fisherman's pub that has been looking out to sea forever.   I took a photo of the charming boats. I ask you. Do you see any resemblance to the image on my vision board I’d created 11 months earlier when a trip to Ireland was completely off my radar?  A lovely example of precognition.

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That’s my daughter there too if you’re wondering.  She plays her part in this mystery.  Back home when I’d contemplated this section of my vision board, Denmark kept coming to mind.  I’d even thought I might go to Copenhagen but hadn’t got around to it.  Celine, on the other hand, did - this summer! Not that she’d planned to do so when I’d pasted her up onto my board next to the colourful boats.  Curious isn't it?

It also transpires that Fingal is historically linked with Denmark because the Vikings decided to land here.  I also learnt from the Irish organiser she has a sister living in Denmark, and suggested I might visit her.  The plot thickens....   

Meanwhile, if you’re wondering where you might go next year, come and make a vision board with me on 25th November and all will be revealed.  I’ll show you how to side-step the conscious mind and engage with the unconscious through active imagination and access this extraordinary intelligence we all have but so seldom tap.

More 'Irishness' to follow....  
 After Skerries I was dropped outside my hotel to chill. At check-in the owner asks for my name but says the only reservation he has is for Mary and Jerry.  “I really don’t want to share with Jerry,” I said smiling, “I want my own room.” 

At this point it’s clear I’ve been dropped off at the wrong hotel - and this one is full. I then sit tight to wait for the men to return (2 ½ hours later) to take me out to dinner.  I kept myself entertained listening to the gorgeous Irish brogue and their wonderful sense of humour, while the owner plied me with drinks and snacks on the house. The meal that followed in an ancient pub was fresh and delicious.

Next day, I’m required for a family fun-run.  However my lift is late fetching me and by the time we arrive at the fun-run, everyone has run off and the school hall is empty.  The two of us decided to walk part of the course and pass the lead runners on their way back yet apparently I am still required to give away the prizes. 
 
‘It put the heart crossway in me to hear it’ as I’m introduced as “Mary, who has come all the way from the London Athletics club to support this event.” I look just about the least athletic among them, especially as I didn’t even manage to run the course.
 
We’re on the road again, destination Fourknocks.  This is awesome - a Neolithic site that predates Stonehenge, yet we’re the only people there.  The key to this ancient burial mound resides with Eileen down the road and if you don’t get on the right side of her, she won’t let you have it.  There’s no charge.  No supervision.  Just the four of us under the ground, marvelling at the abstract art painted on the interior walls 5,000 years ago.  

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Afternoon tea follows in a lovely artistic café.  Then to round it all off we’re at the music festival in the pub listening to pieces that Séamus Ennis would have been proud of.  A 15-piece band spanning five generations of musicians, the youngest about eight.  

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When my hostess finally left me at the airport (she didn’t entrust this to men this time), my flight is cancelled due to fog.  No more flights that day so Aer Lingus kindly put me up in a comfortable hotel and treated me to a splendid dinner.
 And since I had to wait 12 hours before I could fly home, I’m also due a £200 refund too.  I think I should invest this in a flight to Copenhagen don’t you - and follow the signs.

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What to do when the plan doesn't work?  Make an Intuitive Vision Board

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What to do when the plan doesn't work? Make an Intuitive Vision Board

Create a buzz

Create a buzz

When my plan wasn’t working

Once upon a time, when my micro business was only a few months old, I was feeling overwhelmed by the myriad of tasks I needed to do. I’d already created my website, which was a marathon in itself. But I still had a list as long as my arm of tasks I didn’t have the skills for. Rather than wallow in misery, I did what I know best. I made an Intuitive Vision Board.

Smack bang in the middle of it was the large head of a Buddleja, otherwise known as the ‘butterfly plant’. You can guess why; it's a magnet to butterflies. Alongside I’d pasted the words:  “create a buzz”.

I had no rational reason for choosing a Buddleja but it was no surprise either because this is my creative process: to purposefully set out to distract my left-brain in order to have a conversation with my right-brain. This required me to let go of what I thought I should be doing by choosing pictures to represent this and allow the images to choose me. I wanted to open the windows and let some fresh air in.

The next day when I re-visited my vision board, I chuckled to see the Buddleja because the first thing I thought of was a hand-held microphone.   Little did I know …


Serendipity

Within seven months of creating this Intuitive Vision Board, here’s what transpired - absolutely none of which I’d considered or planned for beforehand.  Yet all of these, as far as I could tell, had some association with the ‘hand-held microphone’ and finding my public voice.

* I started writing newsletters and blogs regularly

* I appeared on TV for the first time talking about intuitive vision boards

* I had three separate interviews on the radio

* I began writing my book about Intuitive Vision Boards

* I sang my first-ever solo on stage in front of 150 people

* I made three commercial videos

On the air with Emma-Jane Taylor on Oxford TV

On the air with Emma-Jane Taylor on Oxford TV

At the same time I was intrigued to discover I actually had a large Buddleja growing at the entrance to my property, which I'd not noticed before because I’d moved house in the depths of winter.  

During the summer, while I was in full swing with the book writing, 30 large blooms formed a protective arch for me to pass under - a constant reminder of my current focus to create a buzz.


Risk

From a psychotherapy point of view the Buddleja on my intuitive vision board was a transformational symbol. At the same time it was directing me towards the most effective route to develop my business.  I had not previously considered any of those “microphone activities” yet as they came into my awareness, I tried them on - even when it was a stretch, involved a small risk, and an element of fear.

And what had my logical left-brain (LL) planned for me to be doing instead before my remarkable right-brain (RR) stepped in and redirected the course of history with the Intuitive Vision Board?  

It sinks my spirits just to recall the massive ‘to do list’ I faced every day, systematically addressing tasks I found tedious - like mastering each social media platform in turn and writing a business plan. My progress was slow and I was very frustrated. If I’d made a vision board in the traditional way to reflect the intentions I’d set for myself, it would have looked very different from the one I created.  

I’m not suggesting the logical left-brain is now redundant or the tasks on my “to do list” are not valid, ever. It’s simply these decisions were being taken too early by LL when it’s strength is not to propose solutions that provide a quantum leap forward. LL needs to be at the service of RR otherwise the outcome will always be limited.


It’s not LL’s fault; it can’t help itself. It only works with data that is known already, which has been speculated accounts for a mere 5-8% of our available intelligence.  RR on the other hand has access to that vast, awesome sea of possibility and a rich treasure trove of ideas and inspiration, which is the other 92% of our available intelligence.  Therefore by engaging RR in making my intuitive vision board, I entertained ideas that had never entered my conscious awareness before. And these RR nudges added momentum to my business life more effectively than all my LL thinking put together.

The Intuitive Vision Board is not a panacea but it certainly provided me with the best guidance I needed at this time. There is so much I could share with you about this particular intuitive vision board but I’ll settle for one final image, which also changed the face of my business.


Manifesting Woman-Friday

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Woman-Friday

See the man above sat at the desk alongside the Buddleja?   When I first saw him I thought: he’ll do, he looks busy and creative to me but not a suitable romantic partner.”  Then I had the subsequent thought:  “He’s working for me.  He’s my Man Friday!”  

Until then I had not considered employing anyone in the foreseeable future.  Like many micro business owners, I didn’t think I could afford to.  But acting on this RR nudge, I posted an advertisement on-line.  It said:  “Wanted. Part-time Man-Friday to provide computer and social media expertise to a struggling creative.”

I had three replies within a day.  The first came from a man who looked like the image on my board and helped me over some initial hurdles. The second reply came from a woman who lived three minutes walk away. She offered to be my Woman-Friday and has been working for me every since.  

Am I grateful for Deborah?  Yes!   Could I afford her? No, my LL still proclaims!  But I went ahead and defiantly afforded her anyway. Her presence has allowed me to progress much faster than my scrabbling around trying to do everything myself.  The third reply was from another talented candidate, by the way.  

Do you see how this works?  

I didn’t make the vision board to reflect previously conceived ideas of what I thought I should be doing otherwise this exercise would be little more than goal-setting using pictures. There’s nothing wrong with the latter and it is more common but, it has limitations which you now understand.

Neither am I saying this style of vision board can’t work; it can.  But when the linear intelligence of LL alone decides what images should be on your board, it can’t take into account the biggest picture. Consequently you could potentially be focusing on the wrong things.  

And, if you've decided in advance of making your board what your goals and aspirations are, you’ll need to rely on your will-power alone to pummel them into existence.  The alternative is to align with super-consciousness via your intuitive vision board because then you align with universal intelligence and its will-power is limitless.

May the force be with you 

My recommendation is to get out of your own way.  Open up to your innate intuitive intelligence and allow your imagination free-range when it comes to making your intuitive vision board. Be excited and curious about the images that appear.  

And then make sure you stay alert to the gentle promptings to action you’ll receive in the subsequent months ahead.  Don’t ignore them just because they seem inconvenient to LL who will try to convince you to wait for a more opportune moment.  Do it anyway.   At least be curious enough to do something with the guidance you receive, otherwise it's like uncovering hidden treasure and then throwing it away.

Don't expect an overnight result from this creative process either.  It took me seven months in this example for the vision to complete its form. There is a perfect moment when it comes to manifesting a vision when providence moves with you too - but in its own time and on its own terms.  In the interim, it pays to cultivate patience, which is something I had to learn but now I’ve come to trust.

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#visionboard #arttherapy #creativemeditation #imagination #activeimagination #seeintofuture #desire #intentions #creativity #empowerment #mindset #goals #hope #dreambig #planning #gratitude #positivity #possibilities #motivation #progress #inspiration #creativity #intuition #visionary #emergence #mindfulness

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Stuck in a rut? Then start decluttering.

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From time to time it's not uncommon for even a person with the most positive attitude to life to run out of wind.  Here's an account of what Suzanne did when she found herself stuck in the doldrums.

Suzanne is a creative - a storyteller, poet, dancer and author who loves to inspire and educate using the visual arts. It's been her passion since childhood but when we began working together, Suzanne felt stuck in her career and only sporadically pursuing those things that make her heart sing.  While fortunate to be supported by a partner who gave her free range to be herself, it was also the case that after 28 years together their relationship was in the doldrums too.  

Behind closed doors
The overarching impression I formed of Suzanne's first vision board was the need for movement.  Evidence for this was in the repeating butterfly motifs (associated with the element air: thoughts) and sea creatures (associated with the element water: emotions and the imagination).  These motifs had already begun to work their way into her writing.  

As we sat in her working environment at home, which doubled up as the lounge, the energy felt flat.  Behind closed cupboard doors and more evidently on book shelves, some serious de-cluttering was needed to bring movement into her life. Making space would also generate a vacuum into which new ideas and opportunities could flow and take shape.

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Eat that frog!
I encouraged Suzanne to start each day by ‘eating the frog’: half an hour’s de-cluttering to get it out of the way and to lift her spirits. We began right away with some paperwork and I left her with a prioritised task list to add momentum. Last count after the blitz, 17 kilos had been taken for professional shredding.

Books and paper sit heavily in our space, weighty consumers of life-force energy; think about all the trees that contributed to their production, all the intellectual thought that has gone into the content.  In libraries we take comfort from this feeling of substance while in the home or office too much of this can be a barrier to progress.  

Shedding her skin
Clothes were her next target.  To help Suzanne select what to keep I invited her to imagine she was shedding an old skin and only wanted to retain clothes and personal effects which truly expressed who she was becoming.  A large bin liner filled easily.

Three years passed and Suzanne returned to make a new vision board, ready to explore the “what next?” question through the making of it.  In the interim, impressive creative progress had flowed into the vacuum she'd created.  A series of poetry performances had been delivered, two books published, and she'd begun working with children with learning difficulties. However, she was now feeling a bit isolated working alone.  She craved company and interaction and was contemplating a part-time job to combat this.

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Daring and courageous
It’s important to acknowledge Suzanne's proactive part in this progress.  Courageously, she had risen to the opportunities as they presented themselves and not talked herself out of them.  

Now, reviewing the images on her current vision board together in the context of her unfolding story, an exciting direction began to emerge.  It was time to convert all her efforts of recent years into an arts-based learning programme that could be taught in Colleges and Universities.   Not only would this satisfy her need for contact, she’d also be rubbing shoulders with her intellectual peers which she'd find stimulating.

More frogs…
Before we parted, Suzanne had identified another de-cluttering blitz was required in order to clear space for her new project.  There were also several signs on her vision board that a house move was calling but she was more in favour of making changes to the existing home instead.  From a Feng Shui perspective, I intuitively felt this was not the best solution since the existing home would struggle to adapt sufficiently to her evolving vision.  I also felt a change of home would serve her partner too and ultimately their relationship.
Time will tell.

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Little-Known Feng Shui cure revealed

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Think of the room in which you regularly work or where you go to get your personal administration done. If it’s at home it’s likely to be your spare bedroom, which you share with the Christmas decorations and the toys the children have out-grown.  Sound familiar? 

Typically the desk faces the wall and the door is wide open behind you.  There’s probably a bed in there too with the ironing on it.  How motivated are you to get to work in here?  How easy is it to stay focused when it's not set up for business? 

If you work in an office consider a typical room you might congregate in for meetings. There are stark white walls, it relies on artificial lighting, it receives no fresh air and already smells stale from the previous occupants who, by the way, have also left their debris behind. The table is a long rectangle occupying the centre of the room with chairs crammed underneath it and there's just about enough space to circumnavigate the edge.  I'm reaching for the Anadin already ....

Now let’s take a peek at the main open-plan office.  How many people can you see with their desks facing the wall like they've run into a dead end - and with their backs to one another.  That's disengagement played out right there.

Meanwhile the rest of the gang are likely to blown around in the middle of the room like dust bowls, never sure from one day to the next where they’ll land in a hot-desk culture.  I wouldn't be surprised to learn that morale is low and staff accused of being unproductive.  The company will never get the best out of its people in this way. 

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Some of us are fortunate enough to start our working day on a life-enhancing note.  On the way we pass by green fields, we see trees, hear birds - all of which lifts our spirits if we raise our head long from the mobile phone.  A 10-minute walk around the block can achieve the same effect if we work from home or do the school run on foot.

Contrast this with the mad dash to work in the rush hour, partially underground to arrive at offices that are 15 floors up and look out onto a concrete landscape.  In this instance the company would need to work extra hard on the interior using Feng Shui methodology to create a space that feels more natural and healthy in which people can thrive. 

One of the operating system of Feng Shui is concerned with creating balance between the two opposites -  ‘yin’ (the feminine) and ‘yang’ (masculine).  When an environment is disharmonious – whether it’s a room or a whole office block – the people working there will not function well.  The company is paying for their salaries and a chunk of this is going straight down the drain in reduced effectiveness.  

Whether it’s through good quality lighting, a humane arrangement of furniture, the introduction of a water feature, enriching colour schemes, healthy plant life, inspiring artwork and accessories - or a combination of all of these and more - by paying mindful attention it doesn't take much to create a more harmonious environment that’s conducive to work in.

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I walked into an architectural award-winning office block once to do a Feng Shui consultation with an image consultant in tow, only to find the two receptionists wearing woolly cardigans.   She wanted to go straight up to them and sort them out.  I asked her why she supposed they had a need to dress like this in such a prestigious building.  She didn’t know.  So I took her on a quick tour of their high-tech environment through Feng Shui eyes.

The reception desk was like a tiny island floating in the middle of a vast open sea exposed to the elements.  Right opposite, where the two were seated, were large impressive, revolving doors.  While these were energy efficient and minimised drafts, for the women it was like sitting in front of a wind turbine and very disturbing.

Right behind them were two sets of lift doors, opening and closing constantly.  As the front line of the business, no wonder they felt vulnerable and exposed and needed to add 'yin' layers in the form of woolly cardigans to feel safe and protected.

The surrounding area in which they were seated could be described as very 'yang' – with strong angular lines, lots of harsh natural light and steel supporting structures.  The Feng Shui solution to obviate the need for woolly cardigans was to relocate the reception off to one side, to introduce softer, curvaceous lines in their desk area, utilise large healthy plants to screen the reception desk and warmer, softer tones to define their working area.  

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The seating area for waiting visitors was also exposed and needed similar treatment in order that visitors could arrive, feel welcome and relax.  

The purpose of a Feng Shui assessment is to enhance the quality and quantity of chi (life-force energy) in our living and working spaces.  For so many of us who are deprived of any natural experience during working hours, we risk returning home more depleted than we should be.  After a few months of this, along with the lack of protection from electromagnetic stress that saturates a typical working environment, can leave us wired and frazzled.

When the environment is clean, clear and vital people respond by feeling happy, motivated, productive, creative and engaged.  Absenteeism and staff turnover are minimised.  Clients and stakeholders enjoy visiting. The company becomes a magnet for success.  And the same goes for the office at home.

That's why Feng Shui makes perfect business sense even if it's difficult to pronounce!  
And why there's always room for a woolly cardigan as a stand-by Feng Shui enhancement.

Harmonious wishes to all, Mary

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What everyone needs to know about the value of "NO!"

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What everyone needs to  know about the value of "NO!"

Have there been times in your life when you’re doing too many things out of a sense of duty only to find yourself over-burdened by the complexity of the juggling act you are performing?  Or perhaps someone else you know springs to mind?

Rather than be able to take these responsibilities in your stride and gain some fulfilment from them, there's a point where it all becomes too much.  Big chunks of life are consumed in this way if you’re not careful.  Don't I just know it!

Tangled up in blue
I went through a period like this once that lasted for five years.  I became very adept at putting my significant other's needs ahead of my own in order to maintain the status quo while my owns lay languishing. Why? Because I was afraid of the uproar that would ensue if I didn’t - and the consequences of it.  It’s a weak reason I know but I didn’t know any better at the time and I was enslaved to the situation.  I kept myself busy so I didn’t have to face up to the fact I was being emotionally bullied and manipulated, trapped in a classically co-dependent relationship.  This realisation had not escaped my body however.

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I suffered from insomnia.  I got run down and regularly picked up colds, verrucae, fungal toe infection – all signs that my immune system was depleted. As I became increasingly dis-empowered by the situation, my confidence sank to an all-time low and my self-esteem plummeted; I no longer had a sense of who I was or where my real strengths lay. 

Why illness is the consequence not the cause
Medical studies have shown that when we suppress a “no” in favour of a “yes”, we go against ourselves and this is a form of self-attack.

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One of my teachers, Anna Halprin, an experimental dance-movement pioneer, discovered this while working with HIV/AIDS patients.

With their immune system compromised by HIV, their body was not able to defend itself sufficiently from infection and she found how difficult it was for them to say “no” in other areas of their life. 

She worked with patients using therapeutic dance-movement to strengthen their boundaries and help them express a clear “NO” and a convincing “YES”, with every fibre of their being.

This helped them to manage and sometimes reduce the number of infections they caught.

Stepping of the merry-go-round
That’s why I enjoy so much to help people find their genuine “YES” – their real passions, desires and motivations. 

When I was caught up in the web of co-dependence, the biggest obstacle was my logical left-brain.  It controlled my thinking and provided me with all the rationalisation and justification I needed for sticking with the status quo.
 
I needed to find a way to by-pass this voice and create space in my body-mind so that a deeper, more wholesome wisdom could get through. This proved difficult when my constant immersion in the detrimental situation prevented me from having access to an alternative viewpoint - so I kept going around in circles.  Now I'm able to recommend people find a moment to step off this merry-go-round by attending one of my workshops or retreats, which would have helped me greatly had I been able to do so.

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Taking downtime
When you take time for yourself along with a suitable guide what it is you need for your sanity and vitality comes sharply into focus.  I use reflective, creative enquiry to help you identify the people, places, and activities for you to welcome in with a resounding “YES”.  With this awareness it will become even clearer when you need to say “NO” as well. 

You won’t find this clarity while you continue to drill away at the coalface.  You’re much more likely to keep on drilling as I did and end up dead on your feet - and we don't want that.  

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Feng Shui - ancient practice or New Age nonsense? 

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I’ve been a Feng Shui practitioner for 21+ years. I qualified just before I became pregnant with Celine.  In the early days I used to take her around with me on jobs strapped in a sling.  One time I left home so fast to bundle her in the car that I forgot to put a nappy on her and had to wrap her delicate regions in my scarf. Tra la la ...

I'm very passionate about this ancient, universal practice and I'd like to share some of the wisdom and common sense behind it.  If I had my way I'd rename it living mindfully because it makes such an important contribution towards leading a healthy, wholesome life - a far cry from New Age nonsense.  

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Going with the flow
We're all familiar with the expression going with the flow, which is about adopting the path of least resistance. When we embrace the flow, things seem to miraculously fall into place and our lives evolve with less effort. 

 

When we go against the flow, other symptoms are instantly recognisable: we get sick, feel exhausted, and lack direction.  If this continues, we risk depression and burnout, which are increasingly evident in our frenetic world. 

Part of the flow solution requires significant changes to our lifestyle.  Another approach is pay closer attention to the spaces in which we spend most of our time. Living and working environments that are clunky and don't promote well-being, make additional demands on us - physically, mentally and emotionally.  When homes, offices, gardens and any sub-set of them are going against the flow, similar symptoms to those described above can affect the inhabitants.  Enter the dragon ...

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Good chi
Feng Shui is a practical and metaphysical tool used to promote health, wealth and well-being by improving the quality of our environment.  

At the heart of this practice is the recognition of chi or qi (life force energy) which moves invisibly through space and knowing how to cultivate it to our advantage.  There's a similar principle at work in practices such as Acupuncture, Yoga, Reiki, Tai Chi,  Shiatsu, Qigong, - the purpose of which is to open the channels (meridians, chakras, nadis) in the body for chi to flow more freely so that chi can reach and refresh all parts, like Heineken. 
 
When we neglect our homes and offices thinking we have other more important things to do, then we miss out on the opportunity to cultivate good chi and improve the quality of our life. 
 
Where there are constrictions or blockages to the flow of chi - such as inappropriately placed walls, too much furniture for the size of the room, and other unconscious clutter - our task is to remove these obstacles so that chi can flow more easily.  Since everything that appears to be solid all around us is actually atoms and molecules in motion (according to quantum physicists), then everything in our environment is worthy of mindful consideration from a Feng Shui perspective.

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Wind and water
The literal Chinese translation of the words Feng Shui means ‘wind and water’ and provides further understanding of this invisible phenomenon, still considered by some to be a fabrication of the imagination.  If we could go back in time and ask a Chinese farmer 3000 years ago where he would choose to site his home and grow crops, his answer would be couched in terms of Feng Shui - prevailing winds, proximity to water, aspect to the sun, and soil quality - because all of these would affect the quality of his life.
 
Ask a gardener today the same question and he would give a value judgement which included similar considerations.  To do a good job, both farmer and gardener need to be mindfully aware of where their land is situated in relation to life-sustaining elements.  The rest of us don't typically know and yet we are still at the effect of these all the same, even though we spend most of our time indoors.  

Suitably located wind and water delivers good chi - and most primitive cultures knew this and worked with Feng Shui in one way or another, although they each had their own name for it. The wisdom is therefore ancient, universal and timeless. 

Feng Shui for all
I would argue that our lives are lop-sided when we don't pay more attention to our relationship with the environment in which we are unfolding.  Feng Shui is not a philosophy since it encompasses many practical tools and techniques.  It's not a religion although some may consider it part of their spiritual practice.  It's not recognised as a science since its principles have not been proved by scientific method, although an electron microscope could reveal a thing or two about matter that appears so solid.  

I went to work for a scientific establishment both in their London and Monaco offices.  They had no problem at all understanding why management had employed a Feng Shui consultant to help them improve their business.

Feng Shui is an art - and when applied wisely can enhance our living and working spaces so that the life force energy that envelopes us works for us rather than against.

May the flow be with you.

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Force of Nature

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I love the forthrightness of this quote from the great Irish playwright who is also described as being a polemicist (I wouldn’t mind being one of those when I grow up).

 

I totally subscribe to his point of view.  I believe each one of us is here to make a very special contribution to the whole that only we, with our unique personality, set of predilections and skills, can do.  Finding that something - or combinations of somethings - that fires us up and gets us out of bed in the morning after a night of not-enough-sleep, is a life’s journey. 

While it’s the easier and safer option to indulge in hedonistic pleasures in our time off, these alone will not deliver the deeper fulfilment and purpose to our lives we secretly crave.  We need to balance hedonism with the quest for eudemonism - both Greek like Feta.
 
“This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognised by yourself as a mighty one.”
 
George Bernard Shaw's point about “being recognised by yourself” holds the key here and not what others might think about your title or position.  You could be the CEO of a company with all its attendant trappings and still not recognise yourself for who you truly are at heart.

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I remember once facilitating a group of CEO’s to make their Vision Boards.  We’d got to that moment in the proceedings when I was cruising around the room to view the near-complete visions.  I approached one man; middle-aged and overweight, the successful owner of a large software company. 
 
To my surprise he had placed a Tango-dancing couple in ‘close embrace’ right in the centre of his board.  I looked up at him as I blurted out the obvious:  “They’re dancing Tango!”  And then I saw the man’s eyes were filled with tears as he mouthed back:  “Yep, that used to be me once.  I was a very good Tango dancer and teacher and I’m a million miles removed from both now and it’s hurting; I must do something about it.”
 
Compare this scenario with the office cleaner who has mopped up for the same company for the past 30 years.  She works her hours around home and family.  She takes pride in her job, creating a sparkling environment to welcome staff to work the following day.  She travels to and from the office out of rush-hour and has no issues with parking.  She's her own boss and left alone to ruminate or listen to the radio uninterrupted as she labours.  Another true story, by the way.


I ask you, which of the two is more fulfilled?  Who has found a ‘mighty purpose’ by their own definition?  Then ask yourself sincerely:
 
“What might I too be doing if it wasn’t for:
the money
the security
the ‘job title’
the family
out of habit
other plausible reason?

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You owe it to yourself to feel deep within your heart that your presence is worthwhile and your purpose on the earth is a mighty one.  Life is all too short.  And for the sweet privilege of being alive, I invite you to take whatever steps you need to take in the direction of ‘being a force of Nature’ and find the courage to let yourself blossom.  

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A single women's heart's desire

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Most single women who make a Vision Board have in the back of their mind the desire for a partner to share their life with.  I often see images of couples in an embrace or enjoying each other’s company.  It’s rare the vision board maker is so brazen as to pick an image of a couple quite blatantly getting married.  But on Anne’s board there were two!

Anne was in a long-term relationship of 16-year duration.  During this time her partner had proposed a couple of times but Anne hadn’t been ready for it.  Her hands were full running a family business, which she’d taken over from her parents, and she’d been raising two children too.  Because she couldn’t see her way beyond these commitments, her partner had dropped it.  So when the images of wedding couples first appeared, she assumed it was to do with her son getting married.

Five months later it was a different story.  She had now sold the family business and shed the all-consuming identity that went with it.  She was entering a new phase of her life with a different set of needs and values emerging.  Not surprisingly, marriage seemed entirely appropriate to her now and it was she who popped the question to her partner - who readily accepted.  It was only after this she remembered the images of the two wedding couples on her Vision Board.

When people are making their Vision Boards I always encourage them not to plan in advance what images should appear.  The creator begins their exploration with an empty mind and a blank sheet of paper. And I continue to go to great lengths to ensure their cognitive mind is occupied in order to give their intuitive intelligence the chance to have a voice. 

If a single woman desires a relationship - yet an obvious representation does not fall into her hands on the day of the workshop - then I encourage her to leave it alone.  It's safer to assume it’s not part of her programme for the foreseeable future and she has other priorities.. 

Obviously she can still willfully find a picture and stick it in the centre.  However, in the grander scheme of things, this might be a distraction and cause her to miss out on something important beckoning to her, if she'd stayed out of her own way.

I speak from experience.  For four years the only images of men I found were either in the distance or with their backs towards me!  I had to accept for whatever reason I needed time alone and kept following the signs to learn what was required of me in the interim.  In retrospect I can see that what I’d been doing would have been quite difficult had I also been developing a relationship as well.  C’est la vie.

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Diamonds are forever.  There's one final twist to Anne's tale.  Within a month of completing her Vision Board, Anne came across a craftsmen and fell in love with a stunning pair of his earrings.  She told her ‘James Bond’ partner about them who gallantly purchased them for her. 

 

Now take a closer look at her Vision Board above.  Can you see how Anne had already pictured a pair of earrings next to the couple getting married – and next to the same couple, a picture of daisies in a similar shape and style to the diamond earrings?  Magic! 

So here’s to a woman’s heart’s desire and to the James Bond’s of this world willing to meet it, warm wishes Mary.

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When one door closes make a vision board to open the next

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Recently I was faced with a conundrum.  I was ready to let go of my lovely flat in Marlow which had served me well for two years, yet where I was to move to instead was a mystery. With my daughter due back from University any minute for five weeks, I chose to park fretting about it and enjoy my time with her instead.

About a week later out of the blue a very good friend called me.  Her mother had just died after a long and graceful decline and she asked me if I'd go over the next day and give her some Reiki.  As I lay my hands on her shoulders, she said:  “Mary would you like to come and live here until I get around to selling this house.  You can finish writing your book.  There’s a room for Celine too.  And Willow is accustomed to sleep overs here anyway.”  I was gob-smacked - and delighted. Here was a clear way forward without me having to use willpower and must to arrive at it.

I recalled the two doors at the top of my Intuitive Vision Board: one door closed and the other slightly ajar. When the imagery of front doors appears on Vision Boards, it frequently represents moving house. Front doors often and also sit in the “Career/Path in Life" area of the Bagua map used in Feng Shui, which is the entry point of chi into the home and the area to work on to encourage movement generally.  I had no plans to change home when I made this particular Vision Board but the deeper part had clearly known otherwise. 

"Hidden Treasure."  The words alongside the two doors resonated with me too. The value of the intuitive work I do with Vision Boards is to help people to reclaim their hidden treasure - the diamonds in their back yard which so often get overlooked because they're right under their noses.

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Ou est Marie? Now folks to find me you cross the white ornate bridge with Marlow behind you and zig-zag up the steep gradient of Winter Hill, heavily populated by cyclists at weekends since the Olympics.  Be sure to take in the wonderful view from the summit before dropping into Cookham Dean and coming to rest at my friend’s home nestled in the trees opposite Herries prep school.  All that playful, creative energy coming my way surrounded by nature.  It affords me the perfect environment to complete the writing of my book. 

We have our own dance studio too. YES!  Since we’re both dancers we’ve dedicated the large open-plan lounge, with floor to ceiling views of the garden,  to somatic movement. Now anyone wanting to book in for a dance-movement session it's easy peasy.  Drop me a line using the sign up below, or email mary@marynonde.com, or give me a call on 0782 7017188. 

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Prizewinner uses her intuitive vision board to stream into flow

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In the summer of 2016 I ran a prize draw to win a place on my Intuitive Vision Board workshop and gather data for my book.  The winner was Lisa whom I’d never met before.  The day I informed her of her prize she was giving birth to Esme.  Not surprisingly it was week’s later that she accepted her prize 

Seven months on... and an Intuitive Vision Board workshop and coaching session session behind her, and a Feng Shui consultation later (to create her home congruent with her vision), both Lisa and Esme are flying.

“Hi Mary, I just thought I’d let you know the Vision Board and our conversations have worked wonders.  I got a camera as a gift for Christmas and so far have completed two photography courses as well as online study.

“It feels so good to have the excitement and creativity back into my life beyond being a mum and homemaker.  It’s all new learning and it’s driving my confidence back up without the need to look to someone else for it.”

“We have also started digging the foundations for the extension so it looks like the magic of the board and the Feng Shui is working very quickly this year.”

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Here are some of Lisa’s photos...  You can see above how baby Esme has grown.  And with three other children too, Lisa is a full-on full-time mum and needs her home to be just right so she can function at her best.  

Her husband’s a brick.  Yes, literally, he’s a builder.  And this is rather handy because the extension they are planning is a large and visionary undertaking.

Lisa's story reminded me that once upon a time I was raising my daughter solo and running a Feng Shui practice. The latter was becoming increasingly difficult to manage alongside and I needed to make changes.  Someone suggested I go back to University to study dance and the somatic arts.  It was something I loved to do for myself and I thought it might sit well alongside parenting.  All it took was a 5-minute Google search to find the perfect course.  

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Within months I was accepted as a mature student and underway with a PGCE in Dance.  I was delighted.  Chichester was 2 ½ hours drive away from home but I managed it there and back in a day.  The degree evolved into an MA in Somatic Arts Psychotherapy and so it came to pass that between the ages of 7 to 12, 'mother' was re-educated too and involved her daughter in as many of the dance and creative activities as she could.

Similarly to Lisa I stepped into my creative stream which was just ripe for me to explore yet without compromising my other important commitments.   I’d loved the learning.  I enjoyed the contact with my peers.  I had no real idea where it would lead beyond teaching creative dance in local schools and a weekly class for adults.  It was never going to be a massive money-spinner, but neither was it time-intensive. However, it was fun, thought-provoking and very creative - and I loved facilitating it.

What might you take from this?

1.  Have you found your stream – something that awakens and excites you?  It doesn't matter how seemingly crazy and not related to anything that's gone before it is.  The discontinuous the better.  If you don’t know what it might be, come and make a Vision Board with me and it will become very evident.

2.  Don’t start to future-scope where the stream is going and whether you’ll be earning enough money at the end of it.  Try it on as a hobby and bring your full presence and joy to it.  If the activity makes your soul sing, it will have a splendid knock on effect on everyone you come into contact with; spread the joy.

3. Your stream is likely to be at the bottom of your garden.  You might think you're seeking a BIG river with a massive flow.  Not necessarily.  Lisa found her stream in photography and took courses at Jessop’s in the next town.  Okay so I went further afield but I enjoyed the travel (most of the time) for the time to be with my own thoughts.

4. Accept the stream won’t always flow smoothly.   It may be rocky at times and downright challenging to stay in it.  But ultimately it can lead you to longer-lasting, eudaimonistic fulfillment versus a shorter hedonistic thrill.   It is the place you can return to when the world feels like a fearful place and doubts and uncertainties threaten to take you over.  Peace reigns over your land.  

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How making an intuitive vision board is like having your cards read

I have three clients in the West Country.  So what are the chances that two of them live 7 miles apart when I live 225 miles away from them!  And that their names both begin with the letter “J”.

Since this was too much of a coincidence to miss, when I visited Jay1 recently to review her Intuitive Vision Board and use Feng Shui to align her home with her vision, I called on Jay2 beforehand.

Jay2 made an Intuitive Vision Board with me in February 2016.  Prior to this, she and her husband had decided they were going to up-sticks and move West at the first opportunity, close to her favourite beaches.  

There were three hurdles to overcome first: 

1.  He was still in full-time employment.  
2. Putting their existing house on the market and selling it. 
3. Sourcing a new home.

When I'd gone through Jay2’s Board, we looked together at images of a grandiose house and extensive landscaped gardens with high chiseled hedges as in a maze.  “I don’t know what that’s about”, she said “ we won’t be able to afford a place like that!”

8 months later I arrive on Jay2’s doorstep just as the sun is going down.  But with just enough light for her to walk me through extensive terraced gardens with tall chiselled hedges and secret hideaways little people would just love to explore, and every turn in the path revealing yet another bird table. All this situated on their own private hillside which cascaded down to a stream at its base, lined with beautiful trees we imagined filled with daffodils and bluebells in the springtime. 

HOW MANY OF THESE IMAGES DO YOU NOW SEE ON HER INTUITIVE VISION BOARD BELOW?

As darkness descended we retreated inside the stone-clad home - Yes, like the one on her Board. The wood-burning stove - just like the one in the photograph and came with the house, welcomed us into the lounge, creating a gorgeous hygge effect.

Jay2 could hardly contain her excitement as she talked about the plans for the new off-white kitchen – a sizeable undertaking that would begin in three days time and take three weeks to complete.  How did she know her new home would require a new off-white kitchen when she placed it on her board 8 months earlier?

We laughed as she showed me around the rest of the house and described how they were spoilt for choice when it came to toilets because this house had five!  No wonder the elephant is dancing upside down on one of those loos!

With the money from the home they’d sold in Beaconsfield, they’d been able to afford this grand property in Cornwall in the grounds of an international Golf Resort used by pros and providing Jay2 with a glamorous health club right on her doorstep.  Maybe that's why she placed three different swimmers enjoying the water on her board.

In the centre of her Vision Board is a charming photo of two penguins walking together.“ That’s me and my husband” she explained. “We hope to travel when he retires.” 

Within four months of making the Intuitive Vision Board her husband did indeed retire.  They put their house on the market immediately and shot down to the south west to take a week viewing properties in their chosen location.  The moment they stepped into their new home they fell in love with it.  It, on the other hand, had been waiting for them for two years -  empty.  On their return to Beaconsfield, their house sold quickly and they moved - all within 5 months of creating her vision board!

Postscript to the Penguins.  Jay2 and her husband did indeed start to travel, only one month after moving in.  They took off to Canada and saw mountainous scenery just like the backdrop behind the penguins.  Staying with their son on Vancouver Island, they visited wild and windy driftwood beaches which closely resembled those on her board.

Their son lives in a timber-framed property with 360 degree views of forest and has the odd black bear who likes to visit and rummage through their bins.  Most intriguingly of all, he had placed a line of coloured vases in a row on a high beam in their home to catch the light.  Oh, you mean like the colourful collection of vases on Jay2's board?  How intuitive is that!

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A close shave with retail therapy

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A client of mine, Susan O, has admirably came to terms with her retail therapy habit by using Feng Shui and De-cluttering methods.  

I caught up with her recently and she told me how her resolve to stay solvent had been severely tested.  

See if you can relate to this.  Or maybe you know someone who is similarly prone to shopping rather than confront what is real causing the behavioural problem?

“In the space of one week I found myself buying a brand-new carpet and a new car.  One was on order and the other sitting in my parking lot while I sat inside the house painfully ruminating on both decisions.  I felt psychologically drained and tethered by the credit arrangements I’d just taken on."

“The car had come about because I’d gone in for a routine service and was persuaded to try a Fiat courtesy car.  Even as I drove the vehicle home, with all the papers signed, my daughter’s words rang in my ears: "we don’t need a new car, Mum.  We can manage with the one we’ve got!”

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“Fortunately, there was a loophole in Fiat's financial calculations.  I didn’t have the money to sustain the increased payments required, which would have left me with no disposable income. I used this as my get-out opportunity."  

“With the carpet I was even braver with no loophole to fall back on.  I was booked to have it fitted on a Saturday and on the Monday beforehand I called and cancelled the order.  The carpet man was confrontational but when I said I was very sorry and would he accept a cancellation fee, he backed down and even wavered the fee.  Now I'm clear of the danger zone, I can clearly see we can manage perfectly well with the existing carpet and avoid the upheaval the fitting of a new carpet brings."

“It was a close shave on both accounts and I felt I'd been tested.  It was evident to me that my psychological perspective had shifted.  I feel stronger and no longer a victim so I'm much less of a risk to myself and far less prone to putting myself under financial pressure again."

If you consider Feng Shui and Decluttering might help someone you know please put them in touch.  The advantages of this therapeutic approach is its immediacy;  the changes are made on the spot and often directly where the dysfunction occurs.  Please give me a call if there on 07827017188 if there is anything you'd like to explore or email mary@marynonde.com or use the sign up below.

The obvious advantage is you don't have to leave the safety of the counselling space to return home to implement the remedial actions on your own.  I am right there with you.  

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